Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket
Catalogue Number: CMHR00
Producer: Canadian Museum for Human Rights / Musée canadien pour les droits de la personne
Subject: Arts, Canadian History, Canadian Social Issues, Canadian Social Studies, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, First Nations Studies, Guidance, History, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Psychology, Social Issues, Social Sciences, Social Studies
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2019
Running Time: 84:10
The Witness Blanket stands as a national monument to recognize the atrocities of the Indian residential school era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.
In an attempt to honour the more than 150,000 victims of the Canadian residential-school system, including his own father, artist Carey Newman embarks on a long journey to create the Witness Blanket. This large-scale art installation, inspired by the woven blanket’s symbolization of protection in Indigenous cultures, features hundreds of artifacts gathered from former residential school sites, churches, government buildings and other affiliated structures.
Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket follows Newman and his team as they travel across Canada to meet survivors and collect these pieces of history. Through these survivors’ testimonies, the documentary offers a crucial account of the atrocities committed in government-funded, church-run schools—and the lasting effects those acts have had on Indigenous communities.
Carey Newman or Hayalthkin’geme is a multi-disciplinary artist and master carver. Through his father, he is Kwakwak’awakw from the Kukwekum, Giiksam, and WaWalaby’ie clans of Fort Rupert, and Coast Salish from Cheam of the Sto:lo Nation along the upper Fraser Valley. Through his mother he is English, Irish, and Scottish.
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